Last Night at Slimmons…

October 18, 2013

As most of you probably know by now, Richard Simmons is my friend. I’ve known him for almost 4 years now. He was instrumental in my weight loss, and he continues to be an unending source of support, inspiration, love, and friendship. I see Richard about once a week, when I take his workout classes at Slimmons. I went to Slimmons last night, and it was a particularly good class and fun evening.

David-Garcia-Richard-Simmons-Kirsty-Spraggon

That’s Kirsty Spraggon on the right. Last week, Kirsty interviewed me for her YouTube channel KirstyTV – an interview you can watch here.

Richard started class dressed, in his words, as Read the rest of this entry »


Tia & Tamera

April 13, 2012

Happy Friday! Take a look around – I’ve made a few changes to Keep It Up, David, to help you access your favorite types of posts more quickly and easily. Basically, the My Favorite Posts page was getting way too big and unwieldy (there were over 85 links on it!). So I split it up and created a third row of header links:

  • The Produce Aisle: You know I love to try fruits and veggies that I’ve never tried before (like in yesterday’s post, with the pepinos!), so this page archives all those posts. I separated the list into two parts, fruits and veggies, and you can click on any of the links to learn more about the unique and rare items I’ve found, like Buddha’s Hand or Dragon Fruit.
  • What’s In The RediSetGo?: All the installments of my popular little blog game are archived here. Haven’t played yet? Check it out, it’s easy and fun!
  • My Incredible Shrinking Clothes: These posts really motivate me – they’re about how I’ve needed to buy smaller and smaller clothes as a result of my weight loss. There’s nothing cooler than seeing a 3XL t-shirt next to a Large, and knowing I’ll never need that 3XL ever again!

With these three new pages, that still leaves about 12 or 14 links on the My Favorite Posts page, and they truly are the posts that I’m most proud of.

MOVING ON…

Remember the TV show Sister, Sister? It was a sitcom about twin girls, separated at birth, who get reunited as teenagers. It ran for 6 seasons in the mid and late ’90s, first on ABC, and then on the WB. Maybe the theme song will jog your memory:

The reason I bring it up is that I met the show’s stars, Tia and Tamera Mowry, last night at Slimmons! They currently have a reality show on the Style Network, appropriately called Tia & Tamera, and they’re filming their second season right now. Last night, they filmed during one of Richard Simmons’ classes at Slimmons.

This was a complete surprise to me, but not an unexpected one. It’s maybe the fourth or fifth time (at least) that I’ve walked into Slimmons and seen a film crew there – whether it’s for the Today show, The Doctors, or a local news piece. This was the biggest crew I’ve seen at Slimmons (I wonder how it compared to the film crew for Khloe and Lamar, which also filmed at Slimmons, although I wasn’t there that day): two cameramen, a sound guy, three or four producers, and two or three assistants.

Tia and Tamera looked exactly how I remembered them from Sister, Sister. The cameras shot them meeting with Richard before the class started and then Richard introduced them to a bunch of his regular students, starting with me. I met them, briefly, while the cameras were rolling, so there’s a chance I’ll be on their show! I’m not holding my breath – they got a LOT of footage during the course of the evening. They were both very nice, and their jaws dropped when I shared how much weight I’ve lost.

I worked out next to them during most of the class, and you could tell they were having a great time and working hard. One of them (I’m not sure if it was Tia or Tamera, to be honest), said goodbye to me on the sidewalk afterward, and I waved and said goodbye back.

When I got home, I sent a tweet to both of them:

And within a half-hour, Tamera tweeted back!

And, a few hours later, Tia responded too!

And then she sent a second tweet!

That means we’re new best friends, right?

Richard’s class was really good last night, regardless of the presence of celebrities. Lots of friends there wanted to touch my head – it was the first time I’ve been to Slimmons since getting my haircut. I also worked my ass off… and I was soaked with sweat by the end!

Keep it up, David!


Valentine’s Day at Slimmons

February 15, 2012

Wanna know what my big Valentine’s Day plans were? A fantastic workout at Slimmons! I figured it was gonna be a great day to take one of Richard Simmons’ classes – his Tuesday and Thursday evening classes are usually much less crowded than his Saturday morning ones (which regularly have well over 100 students), and, plus, it was a holiday, so hopefully, it would be even less crowded still. My reasoning was spot-on. With about 40 people there, It was the smallest class I’ve taken at Slimmons in months. Three cheers for everyone that had more romantic plans last night!

It’s been a while since I’ve written about Richard Simmons’ classes, but they’re still a major part of my exercise plan, and Richard himself continues to be a near and dear friend. I’m typically at Slimmons once or twice a week – I’ve been 9 times so far in 2012, and went 52 times in 2011. Each class follows the same basic format: 45 minutes of cardio (dance aerobics), with stretching, warm-up and cool-down built in. Richard usually varies the intensity throughout the 45 minutes, alternating more strenuous parts with easier parts. There’s always a part when everyone makes a big circle and Richard pulls students into the center to dance with him, and sometimes he’ll have us jog all around the room, or take each others’ hands for showgirl-style kicks.

After the aerobics, we grab weights from bins in the corner of the room, and Richard leads us through about 10 minutes of toning, with a focus on biceps, triceps, chest, back, and shoulders. The specific exercises don’t change from class to class, but the order and the number of reps sometimes does. Then we put the weights away, grab mats, and do 10 minutes of sit-ups and push-ups. The class ends with a 5-minute pep talk, where Richard shares some motivational words on a topic that changes with each class, although they tend to emphasize being kind to yourself, taking care of yourself, and sharing kindness and love with the rest of the world.

The whole class ends up being close to 90 minutes total, and the biggest variable in each class is Richard himself. He loves wearing costumes and building the class around a theme, whether it’s a genre of music, like Latin or Disco, or the music from a specific decade or by a specific artist. Saturdays are the big theme classes, but last night had a theme, too.  All the songs he played had the word “love” in the title, and he was dressed in thousands of red sequins, a red tutu over his trademark red dolphin shorts, and red angel wings. A picture of me and Richard after class:

A bunch of the other students were wearing red, but that thought didn’t even occur to me! Apparently by the end of class, I had a heart-shaped sweat stain on the back of my shirt, and Richard kept pointing it out to people, but I forgot to have someone take a picture.

I’m thankful I have a place like Slimmons in my life. That class – Richard’s antics, in particular – cheers me up every single time I go, and I’ve made a bunch of wonderful friendships there. I can’t walk into that room anymore without seeing smiling faces and people waving, and I have a blast catching up with my friends before and after the workout.

I’m not a big Valentine’s Day person, but I will confess, as a single guy, to feeling a bit lonely on a day that’s meant to be celebrated with a partner. Holiday or not, it’s important to have a place where you feel welcome, each and every time you visit, and that’s filled with positive energy. It certainly makes burning a few hundred calories more fun, that’s for sure!

The evening wasn’t without a few casualties, though – but I guess if you’re wearing thousands of sequins, losing a couple isn’t that big a deal:

I should’ve put those sequins on eBay, but I tossed them in the trash on the way out.

Today is a rest day. My class last night at Slimmons marked the ninth day in a row that I’ve exercised, and my body needs a day to recuperate. Then, it’s back to the gym.

Keep it up, David!

If you’re in the Los Angeles area and want to take a class at Slimmons, check out this information page on Richard’s website. It’s only $12 – the best $12 you’ll ever spend!


Palm Springs Weekend

October 11, 2011

On Saturday morning, I got in a car with my friends Robyn and Jake, and their two little poodles Frances and Otis, and we went for a little drive…

…to Palm Springs!

It’s about two hours from Los Angeles to Palm Springs.  We passed a mountain that had snow at the top – a sight that is so cool and strange to see in the middle of a desert region like southern California:

We also passed a bunch of wind farms, which I could stare at for hours:

Our destination was Robyn’s father’s house.  Robyn and Jake invited me to join them for a weekend with her dad, Tim.  I hadn’t met Tim before, but he has happy to have me come along.  He’s a reader of this blog, and one of the first things he said to me when we first met was “I feel like I already know you!”

I would live in Tim’s house in a heartbeat.  It’s a great house with lots of light and spacious rooms, and it’s on a quiet street in Palm Springs.  Here’s the mountain view from the front porch:

And check out Tim’s kick-ass backyard!

We spend all day on Saturday hanging out in the backyard:  lounging, swimming, talking, and hot tubbing.  I don’t mind a hot tub!

Tim has a statue of a deer, left behind by the home’s previous owner, and there were literally 4 or 5 instances when I glanced over quickly or saw it in my periphery and thought it was an actual animal:

I felt tricked by that deer every single time – although I will say in my defense that it very well could have been: in addition to Robyn and Jake’s two dogs, Tim also has a dog, a beautiful standard poodle named Koko, so there were dogs walking around all over the place.  That no pooping sign, by the way, is something of an inside joke and a family heirloom between Robyn and her dad, and all three dogs ignored it.

Speaking of dogs, here’s Koko:

Yep, that’s a Jagermeister tank top she’s wearing.  In addition to loving the smooth, unique blend of Jagermeister’s 56 herbs and spices, Koko recently had to have a couple stitches, and the tank helped deter her from biting her wound.  You can see pictures of Francis and Otis here.

That night, Robyn, Jake and I made a delicious all-vegan meal (which will be the focus of tomorrow’s post), and later on, the guy Tim’s been dating came over and we all went out to a few bars, where I broke my no-soda practice by having a couple Diet Cokes (shhhhh, don’t tell anyone).

On Sunday, we hung out on the back patio more and had a late breakfast.  Robyn’s brother and his girlfriend, who happened to be in the area, came over, and it was a pleasure meeting and talking with them.  I’ve always really liked Robyn since the day I met her (we used to work together, for 5 years), so I’m not surprised at all that every member of her family that I’ve met is also so kind, funny, generous, and smart.

After a leisurely morning of lounging, it was time to sweat.  Tim, inspired by all my posts about going to classes at Slimmons (like this one), had recently bought the DVD box set of Richard Simmons’ “Sweatin’ to the Oldies”!  When he told me that, my heart skipped a beat.  The feeling that I get when I hear that I’ve inspired someone to actually take a step towards getting healthier is one that I’ll probably never get used to, and that’s fine by me, because it’s such an amazing feeling.  Here’s what the box set looks like (you can order it here):

Despite knowing Richard as well as I do, the only “Sweatin’ to the Oldies” video that I’ve ever done is the fifth one, which isn’t included in the box set (read about it here).  So when I saw that Tim had the first four in the series, I practically jumped from my chair.  I got even more excited when I realized that some of the people on the cover of the box set were friends of mine from Slimmons!

That’s Sherri, front row center, Felise to her right, and Kathy behind them.

We popped in the original “Sweatin’ to the Oldies,” which was released in 1988, and Robyn, Jake, Tim and I started dancing.  The DVD was a lot of fun, and it was great to watch Richard, 23 years younger but with the same enthusiasm, energy, and smile.  There were a bunch of moves that I wasn’t familiar with, and a bunch that I’ve been doing every week at Slimmons – it’s pretty impressive that Richard’s aerobics methods are so successful that they’ve haven’t really required much change over the decades.  He really created a winning formula:  great music, along with easy yet effective movements, delivered with an emphasis on having fun in addition to having a good workout.  Sherri, Felise, and Kathy weren’t in the “Sweatin’ to the Oldies” that we did, but another Slimmons friend, Anne (a personal trainer who also teaches at Slimmons), was in the video, with a fantastic ’80s perm and bright orange outfit!

All in all, “Sweatin’ to the Oldies” wasn’t as intense of a workout as I’m used to, but I’m familiar enough with Richard’s moves that I found ways to push myself above and beyond what Richard was doing onscreen.  Apparently, each “Sweatin’ to the Oldies” gets progressively more difficult, so I look forward, some day, to doing numbers 2, 3, and 4.

By Sunday night, Robyn, Jake, the dogs and I were back in the car, headed back to Los Angeles.  I had a lovely time in Palm Springs, and am so thankful and appreciative to Tim for having me for the weekend.  THANKS, TIM!

In addition to the Sunday DVD workout, I also ate really well over the weekend, but you’ll hear about all that tomorrow.

Keep it up, David!


Return to Slimmons

September 17, 2011

On Thursday, I returned to Slimmons.  I use the word ‘return,’ but it’s only been about three weeks since I’ve been to Richard Simmons’ class at Slimmons – the last class I went to was on August 25th.  But three weeks is a long time to not be at Slimmons – if you’ve ever been, you know how infectious it is, how energetic and off-the-wall Richard is, what a great workout it is.

It was a really great workout for me on Thursday, I think because it had been a few weeks since I’ve done any of those moves.  I worked out a lot while on my trip to Michigan and Colorado, but none of my workouts were aerobics.  Plus, the class was crazy crowded, like it can be sometimes, so there was actually room to move without smacking someone, or someone smacking you.  (I’ve smacked my fair share of people during my time at Slimmons, and I’ve been smacked plenty of times, too.)

My friend Tavi came along to class, which was a lot of fun, too.  You know Tavi – I’ve blogged about our hikes and his fruit trees – so you know that he’s an aerialist, which means he’s super flexible, super strong, and super acrobatic, because he makes his living flying through the air, holding onto straps, performing circus routines (see a picture of him in costume here).  Tavi has taken Richard’s class before, months and months ago, and a bunch of people remembered him, because, well, Tavi’s hard to forget.  He’s the one that stretches his legs before class by bending them backwards over his head.  He’s the one that adds spins and flourishes to all of Richard’s moves because he’s a dancer, too.  He’s the one that Sherry, the manager at Slimmons, gushes over before and after class, because she’s… um… slightly obsessed with him a big fan.

I’ve gotten the same three comments from other people both times Tavi’s come along, and I’m sure I’ll these same three comments again the next time Tavi comes to class:

1) “He’s amazing, how do you know him?”  “I’ve known him since high school.”

2) “Why did you bring that guy?  He makes all the rest of us look bad!”  “Hahahahaha, no kidding!”

3) “Is he your boyfriend?”  “Nope.  Just one of my closest friends.”

I wish I took a picture of me and Tavi after class, but I didn’t.  So this picture of me and Richard will have to do.  It’s the first picture I’ve taken with Richard in almost a year (Richard’s the one with the neon green fishnets and tutu, just in case you weren’t sure):

Despite going to Slimmons for for the past nineteen or so months, that’s only the third picture I’ve taken with Richard there.  Here are the other two:

From January 2010 (after my very first class):

From October 2010:

Wow.

Keep it up, David!


Birthday Weekend Recap

March 7, 2011

I just got home from a wonderful event that ended a fantastic birthday weekend.  Let’s start there, and move backwards through a couple other highlights.

1) “Chopped” Viewing Party. Are any of you fans of “Chopped” on Food Network?  Tonight was the first episode of the new “Chopped All-Stars” season, and my friend Giana invited me to tag along with her and another friend to a viewing party to watch it.  The party was hosted by Debbie Lee, who was one of the competitors in the episode tonight, and who came in 3rd place on “The Next Food Network Star” in 2009.  Giana and Debbie go way back, and since Giana knew I was a big fan of  “The Next Food Network Star,” she thought I’d get a kick out of coming tonight.  Naturally, she was right.

The party was in a room at Capitol City, a sports bar in Hollywood with lots of TVs.  We got there early and I got to meet Debbie and we chatted with her for a little bit.  Of course, I went into total nerd fan mode, and immediately started talking about she was robbed on “The Next Food Network Star” and how much I don’t care for Melissa D’Arabian, who ended up winning her season.  Which is true – I think Melissa’s show, “Ten Dollar Dinners”, is complete bullshit.  Yea, I said it.  Bullshit.  You can only make those meals for ten dollars IF you have a completely stocked pantry at all times and buy every ingredient on super-sale.  Melissa and the producers totally know it, too, and I suspect that’s why they never get into specifics on pricing.  At the end of each show, Melissa will say things like ‘this whole platter of chicken and vegetables cost about seven dollars.’  Really?  I wanna see receipts!

Okay – tangent over.  Get back on track, David.

Debbie is a total sweetheart.  Really nice, straight-forward, and she gets bonus points for putting up with me peppering her with behind-the-scenes questions during the commercial breaks.  She has a great attitude about not winning “The Next Food Network Star,” because coming in third has opened a lot of doors for her, and she has some cool things in the works.  On a day-to-day basis, she keeps busy running Ahn-Joo, her Korean Snack Bar food truck.  You can check out the Ahn-Joo website here, and if you’re in the LA area, follow their tweets to find out when they’ll be parked in your neck of the woods.  Debbie fans can also follow her on Twitter here.

I won’t spoil it for anyone and say how Debbie did on “Chopped All-Stars”, because with TiVo and the Food Network’s tendency to air shows ten times during one week, you still have plenty of opportunities to watch for yourself.  But it was great episode, and really cool to watch alongside someone who’s actually on the TV!

I got a picture with Debbie – jealous, Food Network fans?

2)  Slimmons. On Saturday, my actual birthday, my day started at Slimmons.  Richard Simmons normally teaches on Saturday mornings, but this week he was out of town, so Anne, another instructor at Slimmons, filled in for him.  Anne is fantastic – she’s the in-house exercise physiologist at Slimmons, and teaches her regular classes on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings.  I haven’t been to one of her classes since probably last summer, and had forgotten how tough they are.  Much tougher than Richard’s.  I was up for the challenge, though, and really pushed myself, and, as a result, it was probably one of the sweatiest workouts I’ve had at Slimmons.  A tremendous way to start the day.  Here’s me and Anne after class – you can see how soaked my shirt is!

After the workout was over, the entire class sang “Happy Birthday” to me and a few others that had birthdays that week, and Anne gave me, on behalf of Richard, the little hand-made Richard doll that he gives out to birthday celebrants:

3) Chart Update. I’ve saved the best for last.  I wasn’t planning on doing a weigh-in this weekend, since I just had one on Wednesday, but my curiosity got the best of me, and when I work up on my birthday, I stepped on the scale.

I was DOWN TWO POUNDS! Woo-hoo!  Fuck you, month-long plateau, I’m done with you! That puts my weight at 239, and brings my weight-loss total to 163 pounds.

Here’s the chart:

I have no idea how I managed to drop 2 pounds in 3 days, but I’m not gonna over-analyze it, or expect that rate of loss to continue.  Maybe I just had more water weight when I weighed myself on Wednesday.  Or maybe my body was stalling to give me a kick-ass birthday present from myself.  Either way…

Keep it up, David!


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